The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende: Magical Elements in a Familiar Atmosphere

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Individuals rely on fictional tales in order to access a deeper understanding of reality. However, since reality is too complex to explain in pragmatic terms, authors are sometimes forced to turn to other means of explanation. The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende, incorporates magical elements in a familiar atmosphere in order to explain one’s relationship with the world. Overall, through Clara’s magical abilities which show her inexorable love for her family, Allende demonstrates how a woman’s relationship with her loved ones changes the course of their lives. For example, Clara’s spiritual abilities allow her loved ones to preserve their respect particularly as death takes the best of them. While Clara and Ferula search for Nivea’s decapitated head, “guided by her instincts for seeing what [is] invisible” Clara says to the driver, “’Go straight, I’ll tell you the route” (Allende 122). Through the author’s use of paradox, as Clara is able to see what is invisible to others, the reader is able to comprehend that finding Nivea’s head which once sheltered her mind and thoughts, is significant to Clara particularly. Despite the rescuers search, Clara shows a firm mother-daughter relationship as she is able to use her dream and instincts to find Nivea’s head, and ensure she is completely put to rest in peace. Also, after Alba loses her courage to continue living in prison, she invokes her grandmother’s spirit a number of times to help her die. However, Clara “[appears] with the novel idea that the point was not to die, since death came anyway, but to survive, which would be a miracle” (414). Undoubtedly, as an individual decides that it’s better to die than to live, they are at one of or the weakest point in their life. Clara’s spirit appears for Alba specifically, in order to assist her in recovering from her demise, and guiding her to live with determination. All in all, the magical abilities attributed to Clara allow her loved ones to overcome the...
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